Here is a tale that covers both the worst and best of our Ibizan lives. It is a bit of a mix of a news report with some opinion here and there – so best consider it editorial.
The Ibiza Food Bank
I first became aware of this food bank when earlier this year a reader mentioned how much longer their queues were becoming. Hardly surprising with the financial hardship that has come hand in hand with the Covid-19 health crisis for some people in our resident community. This was back in lockdown days and he said how the queue had increased dramatically from the start of the lockdown as the weeks went on.
A Man Called Cristóbal & A Team of Volunteers
Turns out that that the food bank is part of the ongoing community efforts of a guy called Cristóbal and his team of volunteers. They have a social media group on facebook called ‘La voz de los que nadie quiere escuchar. (Personas sin techo. en Ibiza)’ – if Google didn’t already auto translate that text for you, it means ‘The voice of those that nobody wants to hear. (Homeless people in Ibiza)’.
Ibizan reader Liz Loughbridge said “I’ve been in this group for a few years. They do great work, helping vulnerable people. Lots of people inbox cristobal asking for food or clothes etc. They are an excellent group. it will be needed even more so now.”
The Ibiza Town Council Fine
This week, Cristóbal decided to go public in announcing that the food bank had received a fine.
This is our announcement made early afternoon Tuesday 22nd September.
Ibiza Town Council have issued a 1,500€ fine to a small voluntary group who have been giving out free food to the homeless during the pandemic. The fine is for an administrative infraction – essentially for not having the correct paperwork in place to allow them to do what they are doing.
The organiser says that the entire operation is undertaken by volunteers and they are simply trying to fulfill a need. They say they will continue to operate despite the sanction for as long as their services are needed.
The fine was a result of a police visit when, being busier than usual, they attracted the attention of the authorities.
Those who are in need of food and cannot afford to buy it themselves can find the food bank from Monday to Saturday from 7:30 to 12:00 at Carrer Archiduque Luis Salvador, 23.
Editor’s note: we are often approached by well intended individuals proposing community action such as this, feeding the homeless in times of crisis or similar projects. People are often surprised at our reaction telling them that despite their best intentions things are often much more complicated than they might think. This is a perfect example of that situation in practice. Reading between the lines somebody grassed them up, probably because they didn’t like the queues that started to form down the street. You might think that the authorities would be sympathetic to such a cause right now, even perhaps assist them in fulfilling any administrative process, but in Spain, once the bureaucracy gets involved, all logic and common sense will often depart at the same time.
The Good Samaritan
Response to our announcement was swift and overwhelmingly supportive of the organisation with many people outraged at the Ibiza Town Council action. Several people had already stepped forward to ask how they could help donate towards the 1,500€ fine when, just 40 minutes after our original announcement, a good samaritan approached us privately, offering to pay the fine in full.
Here is what we said on that.
Question: How long did it take from us posting details of the Ibiza food bank charity being fined 1,500€ to one of our readers offering to pay the fine in full?
Answer: About 40 minutes.
We love that the donor wishes to remain anonymous. We love that the charity are already excited enough to have posted the donation on their page. We love you – you rock ??✊
Cristóbal was very appreciative of the offer, however we have to join the many who support him in taking a position of principle in electing to fight the fine. It seems an astonishing poor use of public resources to persecute a small food bank when there are so many more important issues facing us right now.
The Extra Good Samaritan
However, the already great action by our good samaritan was to get greater still. Aware of Cristóbal’s intention to fight the fine, they decided to pay the 1.500€ regardless. They said “I’m happy to still make the donation of course in whatever way is helpful to them 1,500 euro of food, towards their rent, whatever.”
We will be facilitating the payment in a few days. One thing that has come up is that they do not even have a bank account – it is that much of a front line service. Cristóbal told us they decided not to have a bank account to avoid any suggestion they are about raising and holding onto money. Basically they have a cash box at the food bank which people can donate to directly on the premises – that’s it – no gofundme page, no paypal, and none of the commissions that go with them.
We have been communicating with Cristóbal directly and he has asked us to convey his thanks to the English speaking community of Ibiza for its support, and of course thanks to the rather marvellous anonymous donor. Well done them – and you know what, don’t ask me, my lips are sealed.
How to Get Involved
As above, we can’t give people the normal link that makes payment easy, but we hope people will respect their reasons for working direct and make that effort to go by with any donations.
Here are the contacts. If it is simply a case of dropping by with cash that can be done anytime they are open. If you want to do something more, or ask what help they need, perhaps get in contact first.
Cristóbal Facebook Page
Carrer Archduke Luis Salvador, 23
Monday to Saturday from 7:30 to 12:00
865 619 582